A recent decision out of the Eastern District of Wisconsin harshly criticized the Social Security disability determination process. Using terms like "wholly dysfunctional," the Court went on to note the number of cases filed in federal court, and the ever rising rate of remand. According to the decision, the rate of cases being sent back to the Social Security Administration hearings office is that 83%. The average rate nationally is 45%. A basic primer on the remand process will help you appreciate the significance of this statistic.
If a person claiming Social Security disability receives an Unfavorable Decision from an Administrative Law Judge, the claimant can appeal their case to the Appeals Council. If the appeals Council refuses to review the case, the next appeal is a federal court claim.
A federal court may decide to uphold the hearings decision, grant benefits, or send the case back to the hearings office for further proceedings. Sending the case back to correct errors is called a "remand." Essentially, what is going on in Wisconsin is quite scary. This is because the District Court's finding that over 8 out of 10 times, Social Security is getting it wrong. Keep in mind, this is after the disability claim had been denied twice.
In Oregon I notice that the US Attorney will often agree to send the case back to the hearings level for further development. We work closely with attorneys who limit their practice to federal court appeals of Social Security disability claims. More often than not, the case is sent back for another hearing.